Pro-life activist sees advertising discrimination from Twitter
Live Action messages deemed ‘hate content’
Pro-life groups are free to advertise on Twitter — as long as they don’t talk about what abortion is, show pictures of ultrasounds or criticize Planned Parenthood.
That’s what Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said Twitter’s ad policy against “hate content” amounts to. She said the social media company has for years sought to prevent Live Action from promoting pro-life content through paid advertising, even as Planned Parenthood is given free rein to reach massive audiences.
“I think it’s clear that Twitter is discriminating against the pro-life voice,” Ms. Rose said. “Planned Parenthood is allowed to promote their pro-abortion and misleading messages, while Live Action is barred from promoting any content exposing abortion and Planned Parenthood.”
After repeated violations, she said Twitter “completely shut down” Live Action’s ability to advertise on the platform.
The Washington Times has obtained emails showing examples of tweets that were deemed unacceptable by both Twitter ad bots and the Twitter sales team.
One tweet, sent from Ms. Rose’s personal account on Jan. 18, said Planned Parenthood is “about abortion, not women’s health care.” It included a short, all-text video questioning the extent of Planned Parenthood’s nonabortion health care services.
“Let’s set the record straight: [Planned Parenthood] is about abortion, not women’s health care,” Ms. Rose said in the tweet. “We can fund more worthy clinics instead.”
That tweet was flagged by an ad bot for violating Twitter’s “Hate, sensitive topics, and violence” advertisement policy, according to an email notification.
The policy prohibits, among other things, “Inflammatory content which is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction or cause harm.”
A spokesperson for Twitter said the company does not take ideology into account when enforcing its advertisement policy.
“Twitter has clear, transparent rules that every advertiser is required to follow,” the spokesperson said in an email, “and the political viewpoints of an organization do not impact how these rules are applied.”
When asked why the Jan. 18 tweet was unacceptable, the spokesperson did not respond.
Other tweets deemed to run afoul of Twitter’s ad policy included a video fact-checking Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, a map of the United States showing the availability of non-Planned Parenthood women’s health centers, Ms. Rose saying a child has a right to life and Ms. Rose quoting Thomas Jefferson, Live Action said.
Additional emails showed members of Twitter’s sales team flagging tweets about the undercover video investigation into Planned Parenthood conducted by the Center for Medical Progress.
A Live Action employee accused Twitter of enforcing its policy “inconsistently,” pointing to “comparable tweets from organizations that, to our knowledge, have not been flagged by Twitter as having been in violation of the sensitive advertising content policy.”
“From our perspective, it appears as though your policy is being applied inconsistently,” the employee said in an email. “We would like to understand why, if that is the case, and what we can do to move forward in our partnership.”
A member of Twitter’s sales team refused to comment “on the Tweets of other organizations and whether or not they’ve been flagged in the past or are currently under review.”